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USMNT can do little to slow down prolific Colombia

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A young, hilariously overmatched U.S. men’s national team put forth a mostly encouraging performance against a star-studded Colombia side en route to a 4-2 defeat in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.

[ WATCH: James gives Colombia lead over USMNT with beauty ]

Dave Sarachan’s record in 12 months as interim head coach now stands at 3W-3D-3L.

Colombia threatened early and often, from the opening five minutes onward, when Antonee Robinson and John Brooks were beaten by Santiago Arias on the edge of the USMNT’s penalty area. Arias glided past the left-sided duo and delivered a delightful cross to Radamel Falcao near the penalty spot. Fortunately for goalkeeper Zack Steffen, Falcao fired over the crossbar and the Yanks were off the hook.

The pressure finally paid off in the 36th minute (WATCH HERE). Rodriguez curled the ball from a seemingly impossible distance outside of Steffen’s right-hand post and nestled it into the upper-90 from the opposite side of the penalty area. It was a goal that reminded us of the world class talent Colombia possessed.

For all of Colombia’s dominance and control exuded in the first half, Los Cafeteros failed to make the USMNT pay with a second goal — for a time. Five minutes into the second half, they paid the price themselves.

Antonee Robinson had all day down the left flank before floating a lofted ball into the box, where Davinson Sanchez got the slightest of touches with his head, but nowhere near enough to send it clear of danger. Acosta read the flight of the ball the entire way and arrived to the six-yard box with split-second timing to make it a 1-1 game.

[ UEFA Nations League: Portugal win again without Ronaldo ]

They paid again three minutes later, when Wood split two defenders to get on the end of Tim Weah’s deftly played, inch-perfect through ball to the penalty spot. Wood needed — had time for — just one touch to hit it hard and low past Ospina inside his left-hand post. 2-1 to the USMNT.

The lead was extraordinarily short-lived, though. Arias got to the end line and cut the ball back toward the penalty spot for Carlos Bacca. With every defender’s momentum taking them toward the end line, Bacca peeled away from every blue shirt and had plenty of time and space to send his first-time shot past the outstretched hands of Steffen to make it 2-2.

The draw was beginning to look attainable — perhaps likely, even — until Colombia struck with a lethal counter-attack directly resulting from a USMNT set piece. Brooks was the USMNT player farthest up the field when Rodriguez booted the ball out of his own penalty area, springing Juan Quintero one-on-one in the open field. Falcao made the hard run through the center of the field to get into the box. No one went with him, and the finish was simple as could be for a player of his caliber.

As if Rodriguez’s opening goal didn’t provide enough of the wow factor for an overwhelmingly pro-Colombia crowd, Bayern Munich’s somewhat maligned superstar set up Miguel Borja for another moment of absolute class in the 79th minute. A simple chipped ball over the top provided a stage for Borja’s acrobatic finish to complete the scoring and the rout.

Three things from the USMNT’s 4-2 loss to Colombia

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The United States men’s national team took the pitch in Tampa without Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams.

[ MORE: MLS, Liga MX eye merge deal? ]

They still found ways to entertain.

Weah and Wood for the Win (or at least the lead)

Cheers to Bobby Wood, the sometimes maligned but often productive Hawaii-born forward of Hannover 96.

Wood broke up the play that started the USMNT’s second goal, carrying the ball before being fouled.

The play continued onward until PSG young buck Timothy Weah dribbled up the left of the pitch and played a perfectly-weighted ball into the path of Wood, who hauled his body almost 100 yards over the course of the goal.

The aforementioned James principle also applies to Weah, 18, who stuck around PSG instead of accepting a loan offer. He gets his chance to shine with the USMNT, and the dividends were very much there.

Better from Robinson

Less than inspiring — and that’s being nice — in last month’s friendlies, Antonee Robinson was a different man against Colombia.

There were still plenty of errors in defense, but the Everton youngster, currently on loan to Wigan Athletic, was a lively part of both possession and attack from his left wingback spot for the USMNT on Thursday.

At 21 years old, that’s fairly forgivable.

Composed and electric, the 21-year-old’s cross provided an equalizer for Kellyn Acosta that honestly could’ve come from Bobby Wood. It was good enough service to provide a chance for two players to bury a match-tying goal.

As an aside, goal scorer Kellyn Acosta has been reborn for Colorado, and even the fondest of Jurgen Klinsmann supporters knew that the former manager’s shoe-horning of the midfielder at left back was A) wrong and B) just an acknowledgment that he should have a spot on the field.

International soccer: Where depth club players get their shine

International friendlies have the tendency to uncage beasts. The combination of world class talent and less organized teams, a symptom of the international game sickness, is enough to provide show-stoppers.

Enter James Rodriguez.

The 27-year-old has started less than half of Bayern Munich’s league games this season, but is the undoubted star for Los Cafeteros. His cutback on Kenny Saief — wyd after that, Kenny? — and beautiful curler around the reach of Zack Steffen were the things of dreams.

It probably should’ve been 2-0 thanks to James magic, but Matt Miazga slid to clear the ball off the goal line in the 41st minute.

James helped cue up Colombia’s third goal, too, sending a hopeful outside of the boot clearance 60 yards up field en route to the 3-2 advantage.

And his patient dribble in a phone booth was the direct assist for Miguel Borja’s terrific acrobatic goal. I mean, the composure…

WATCH: James gives Colombia lead over USMNT with beauty

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Have you guys and girls heard of James Rodriguez?

The Colombian superstar scored his 21st international goal in Thursday’s match in Tampa against the United States men’s national team.

[ FOLLOW: USMNT vs. Colombia in Tampa ]

The Bayern Munich wizard, 27, turfs Kenny Saief and then casually curls a shot around a helpless John Brooks and Zack Steffen to make it 1-0 for Los Cafeteros.

James would have made it 2-0 if not for a goal line clearance from Matt Miazga in the 41st minute.

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern keeps Schalke reeling; Hertha wins

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Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin both stayed unbeaten ahead of Friday’s match-up in Berlin, with the former adding to Schalke’s league woes with an away win.

[ RECAP: Spurs snap skid ]

Also some American kid scored again for Borussia Dortmund.

Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich

Schalke had a chance to turn around its season following an 0-2 with a visit from the presumptive champions.

Didn’t happen.

Bayern outshot Schalke 14-10 at Veltins-Arena, getting an early goal from James Rodriguez and a Robert Lewandowski penalty to keep Schalke winless.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was pulled off after 54 minutes, completing just four of his nine attempted passes.

Hertha Berlin 4-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

The big man was at it again. Vedad Ibisevic canceled out the visitors’ early lead with a 31st minute marker and then scored again in the 63rd minute as the second place side doubled up Gladbach at the Olympiastadion.

Hertha is one of five teams with a zero in the loss column, and sits two points back of Bayern.

Hoffenheim 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Meanwhile, McKennie’s USMNT teammate saved a point for Schalke’s rivals. Down a man and a goal, BVB got this equalizer from Christian Pulisic late on to get a point.

Elsewhere
Stuttgart 0-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf — Friday
Wolfsburg 1-3 Freiburg
Nurnberg 2-0 Hannover 96
Augsburg 2-3 Werder Bremen
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Mainz — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. RB Leipzig — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 4 4 0 0 11 2 9 2-0-0 2-0-0 12
 Hertha BSC Berlin 4 3 1 0 9 4 5 2-0-0 1-1-0 10
 Borussia Dortmund 4 2 2 0 8 3 5 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
 Werder Bremen 4 2 2 0 7 5 2 0-2-0 2-0-0 8
 FSV Mainz 05 3 2 1 0 4 2 2 2-0-0 0-1-0 7
 VfL Wolfsburg 4 2 1 1 8 7 1 1-1-1 1-0-0 7
 Mönchengladbach 4 2 1 1 7 6 1 2-0-0 0-1-1 7
 1. FC Nürnberg 4 1 2 1 4 3 1 1-1-0 0-1-1 5
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
 1899 Hoffenheim 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 1-1-0 0-0-2 4
 FC Augsburg 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 SC Freiburg 4 1 1 2 7 9 -2 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 RB Leipzig 3 1 1 1 5 7 -2 1-1-0 0-0-1 4
 Eintracht Frankfurt 3 1 0 2 4 5 -1 0-0-1 1-0-1 3
 Hannover 96 4 0 2 2 3 6 -3 0-1-0 0-1-2 2
 VfB Stuttgart 4 0 2 2 3 7 -4 0-1-1 0-1-1 2
 Bayer Leverkusen 3 0 0 3 2 8 -6 0-0-1 0-0-2 0
 FC Schalke 04 4 0 0 4 2 8 -6 0-0-2 0-0-2 0

Colombia’s James Rodriguez injured v Senegal

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James Rodriguez limped out of Colombia’s crucial Group H clash with Senegal in Samara.

His 2018 World Cup could be over.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Golden Boot winner from the 2014 World Cup looked to suffer a recurrence of the calf injury which kept him out of Colombia’s opening Group H defeat against Japan.

Luis Muriel replaced James in the game but there’s no doubt that Colombia’s offense doesn’t quite click without James, who delivered two classy assists in their 3-0 win against Poland in Group H.

Rodriguez, 26, has been a star for Bayern Munich during the 2017/18 campaign but injuries have impacted the man on loan from Real Madrid.

Colombia will be hoping that the injury to James isn’t too serious as they aim to advance to the last 16 and he would be a key part of any deep run in the tournament.

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